The Booziest Comet Ever! Comet 46P/Wirtanen has the Highest Alcohol Content of Any Comet

Comet 46P/Wirtanen was nicknamed the "Christmas Comet" when it made its flyby of Earth back in 2018, due to its holiday timing and its bright green glow. Now, a new study shows why it has another reason for its holiday cheer: it's full of booze!

"46P/Wirtanen has one of the highest alcohol-to-aldehyde ratios measured in any comet to date," stated cometary scientist Neil Dello Russo of Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory who studied the comet at the W.M. Keck Observatory on Manuakea in Hawaii, "This tells us information about how carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen molecules were distributed in the early solar system where Wirtanen formed."

Image: Martin Stojanovski/Wikimedia Commonsā€‹

#comet #alcohol #Christmas #astronomy #WMKeckObservatory

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